3 Tricks Car Salesmen Use To Take Your Money, And How To Overcome Them

May 21, 2015

Purchasing a vehicle from a dealership can be an anxiety inducing experience. What I discovered was that the number one emotion women felt when considering buying a vehicle was ANXIETY followed by uncertainty. In this article, we will review 3 tricks that dealers and car salesman use that cause this anxiety and uncertainty. I will teach you how to overcome these feelings, and become immune to the tricks.

tips for buying car to save money
YouTube / Harold B. Lee Library

The worst thing that can happen to us as consumers is purchasing something and quickly regretting it. This is called buyer's remorse and it is a terrible feeling. Why? Well you just spent $20,000 and you are married to a monthly payment for 3-6 years. I do not want this happen to you! The following tips are designed to prevent you from being pushed around by the salesman and to ease your mind of worries in regards to overpaying.

1. Emotional Manipulation

During my car salesman days, we were taught many subliminal tactics to get customers interested in vehicles. One is emotional manipulation. The reason salesmen often insist on test driving is to get you to create a sense of ownership in your mind. "Ma'am take a seat, adjust the mirrors, now adjust the seat until you are comfortable . Go ahead and turn on your favorite radio station and flip back the sunroof." Is your heart beating faster and you excitement increasing? You are unknowingly getting excited and your mind is taking mental ownership of this nice new vehicle. That awesome new car smell isn't helping either is it? That feeling of euphoria is a very human response. They are counting on you to feel this way.

What happens next is quite primitive. As our excitement builds, the emotional part of our brains begins to take over. When this happens, we are much more likely to make a choice based on emotions. Have you ever heard of dogs that go crazy and get scared during lightning and thunder storms? I had an adorable shih tzu dog that would run miles away when thunder rumbled the house. RIP Bootsy. During these storms the logical part of his brain would turn off and the emotional part would take over. In this case fear dictated my dog's behaviors. Much like my old boy Bootsy (my mom named him btw), this happens to us when we take mental ownership of a new car. The budget we set and the price we wanted are now more likely to be negotiable.

How to overcome "Emotional Manipulation"

Be mindful of your emotions. Simply being aware of this tactic beforehand and how our mind/bodies will respond is a half of the battle in not making a poor emotional based decision. I always recommend that we sleep on it. My rule of thumb is to never make a large purchase the same day. This isn't the same as picking up a Snickers while in the checkout line. This is a 5 figure purchase that we will be married to for the next 3-6 years. Be smart, go home, sleep, and revisit it the next day when your mind has had a chance to tend to other matters.

2. Pushing you towards Payments

After the test drive we will be directed to go inside, sit down, fill out our contact information, and discuss the price. Car salesmen are taught to negotiate the payment with us instead of the price of the vehicle. This has two benefits for them.

1) Making an affordable payment is relatable and gets your mind off of the actual price. We end up paying more this way.
2) The interest rate and the length of the loan can quickly fall into the background with this payment focused presentation.

The payments method works because we are more likely to digest the affordability of a a monthly payments versus the 5 figure sticker price. Over six years, a $100 dollar increase is not that much, but by doing the math it will add on $6K to the total price - wow, that's mind-blowing! A $70 monthly difference can save $4,200!

How to overcome "Pushing you towards payments"

Tell the salesman up front "I am not interested in going over payments right now, let's stick to the price of the car out the door." You must be proactive here. A skilled salesman may even give you a rebuttal of "well ma'am, I just want to make sure you get something that is affordable and fits your budget". Just smile at your new adversary and politely say "While I appreciate your concern, I have all of that figured out, please just get me the out the door price". (Make eye contact and smile for added value and enjoyment). They will get the picture. You want the individual price of the car and that is what you want to negotiate. You have now become a formidable opponent. You have now indirectly saved yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars by directing the negotiations down this road. Also, the out the door price is the price of the car plus all of the fees that the dealer adds on. Better to know sooner than later what fluff fees the dealers will add.

3. The Finance Office

After a price has been agreed upon, we are sent into the finance office. Here you meet the Finance Manager. This person finishes your paperwork, gets you financed (or takes your check), and offers you products to protect your new vehicle. This is where even the toughest buyers lose. Why? They lose because their guard is down. When we agree upon a price, we get a handshake and a congratulations. Usually the sales manager gets in on this as well. You give out a big sigh of relief. In my sales days, I will never forget this one customer who was an excellent negotiator. He knew what he was doing and worked us down to a super low profit. He clearly was prepared and this resulted in the dealership making around $100 on the car (Nice job!). What happened next really opened my eyes. He ended up paying $4500 on the warranty and GAP products as well as accepting an interest rate 2% higher than he should have. All of the money he had just spent his energy and time saving was washed away in the finance office. Customers let their guard down when a price has been reached with the salesman. Don't let this happen to you. Being aware of yourself and the situation is half the battle.

I want you to know the background of the Finance Managers and how they get that job. It's not by going to business school and majoring in Finance. They get there because at some point they were the top car salesman in the dealership selling 20+ cars a month. That is part of the car sales business ladder. It takes a different set of skills since they are selling an intangible product. You can't put your hands on a warranty or an interest rate. Therefore it takes a higher degree of sales skills to be successful here. They are the best at what they do and that is why they get paid the big bucks.

The first move when we enter the finance office is to make us feel comfortable. Let's not let his smile and firm handshake fool us. He has one clear goal. Convince us to buy what he has. He doesn't make as much money otherwise. He will once again show us the NEW payments if we were to purchase products A, B, or C. They make money in 2 ways. The first is by increasing the interest rate we are charged. They borrow your loan money from Bank A for 3% and charge you 4%. The dealership gets a part of that and the Finance Manager gets around $500 per % point he charges us. The second way they make money is by selling us the company warranty or gap products which can vary drastically.

How to overcome "The Finance Office"

As before, we want to ask for the total price of the product we are interested in. It really is a personal preference whether you want any of these or not. I personally have and never will get any of them even if they do add free oil changes. Don't let my stance deter you though because there are some amazing packages out there that add free oil changes for years. Be ready to pay a little extra than you would normally though. The convenience is worth it for some. Next, if not already done, we want to clarify what the interest rate is.

Good luck! I hope that this information will allow you to walk into a dealership with confidence. I hope this was helpful for you and will aid you in saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on your next purchase.

Credit: charlottechewie.

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